What is Large-Area Electronics?

Large-Area Electronics (LAE) is a new way of making electronics, including printed, flexible, plastic, organic and bio- electronics, that :

  • is enabled by new materials that can be processed at low-temperatures;
  • permits the use of new manufacturing processes such as printing and digital fabrication for electronics;
  • makes it possible to have products with new form factors, new cost structures and the potential for customisation.

LAE approaches can produce ultrathin, lightweight, flexible and rollable devices that: emit or reflect light for displays, lighting and smart windows; transduce light for sensing and photovoltaic energy generation; sense a variety of physical, chemical and biological parameters; form flexible or stretchable circuits for analogue and digital electronics; harvest and/or store energy.  Emerging LAE technologies include fibre electronics for smart textiles and bioelectronics for a new class of wearable and implantable devices.

LAE has the potential to both open up new markets for electronics and to expand existing products by adding new form factors, new functionality and enabling new cost structures. The interface between silicon and LAE is critically important to allow electronic systems of the future to combine the power of silicon with the form factor and manufacturing benefits of LAE. These multi-functional systems will provide the engine of innovation for new high-growth industrial sectors such as healthcare and medical, sport and fitness, fast moving consumer goods, automotive, the Internet of Everything, printing and packaging and smart wearables. The new form factors and flexibility possible with LAE allow electronic systems to be deployed in a wide variety of non-traditional situations: in and on paper, plastic, textiles, furniture, cars and buildings, as well as on packaging and even in and on the human body.